Children should not suffer justice delays

Include Youth spokesperson on youth justice, Paula Rodgers, has stated that today’s Audit Office report into the criminal justice system clearly highlights the need to improve provision for young people and in particular is further evidence of the need to raise the age of criminal responsibility.

Speaking today Ms Rodgers said:

“Today’s Audit Office report , “Speeding Up Justice: avoidable delay in the criminal justice system” highlights once again the need to improve provision for young people in the criminal justice system and in particular is further evidence of the need to raise the  age of criminal responsibility.

“The delays and inefficiencies highlighted in this report can have a serious impact on young peoples development. It means that children as young as ten years of age can be trapped in the criminal justice system for lengthy periods. This is entirely unacceptable.

“Questions need to be asked given the fact that the Youth Justice Review in 2011 clearly recommended that the issue of delay needed to be dealt with and that the priority should begin with addressing the damaging impact delay has on children and young people.

“Include Youth, through the Raise the Age NI campaign, have called for the age of criminal responsibility within Northern Ireland to be increased from 10 years of age. 

“The ongoing difficulties highlighted in this report only add to the growing body of evidence that the criminal justice system is failing our young people and that we should move to follow best practice set out by many of our European neighbours.”